Before a gathering of law enforcement and political officials from Moore County and the surrounding areas, Ronnie Fields was sworn in as the chief law enforcement officer of Moore County.
Accompanied by his wife and family and standing before Superior Court Judge James Webb, Sheriff Fields took the three oaths required of all sheriff’s in North Carolina; swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States, the laws and Constitution of North Carolina and to serve and protect without prejudice or favoritism.
Fields, who ran as a Republican against Independent Steve Adams, was elected in a landslide with 73 percent of the vote. Fields succeeds Neil Godfrey, who retired November 30 after losing in the primary election.
Among those attending were retired Moore County Sheriff Frank Johnson and Lane Carter, Senator Tom McInnis, Representative Jamie Boles, representatives from the Moore County Commissioners and numerous local law enforcement agencies.
Rep. Jamie Boles(left) and Senator Tom McInnis.
In his remarks, Sheriff Fields expressed his thanks to his supporters and the men and woman of the Moore County Sheriff’s Department. He pledged to give a 100 percent to fulfilling his responsibilities and to running the sheriff’s office with integrity and transparency.
Fields’ goal is to see that trust is restored. In a statement made after the election, Fields said, “The trust has been broken. It’s been broken all over the state and here in the United States. We have to build this trust back up, and it’s going to be a work in progress. We will do this by promising an open-door policy and being more accountable for the actions of the sheriff’s department.”
Fields has more than 30 years in law enforcement serving with both the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Deputy Richard Manness and Major Andy Conway were also sworn in by Judge Webb who collectively have more than 50 years of law enforcement service.
Judge Webb administered an oath to all the officers of the Moore County Sheriff’s Department. While not required by State Law, Moore County (and many other North Carolina counties) choose to administer an oath to all deputies, encouraging their loyalty and support of the sheriff’s office.
Moore County Deputies being sworn in.
Interestingly, although the Office of Sheriff was expressly created in North Carolina’s first Constitution in 1776, no system of local government was created by the Constitution. A uniform scheme of county and township government was not created until the adoption of North Carolina’s Constitution of 1868, almost 100 years later. Therefore, the Office of Sheriff in North Carolina is almost older than county government itself.
Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel reporter, Chris Prentice.